Reflecting on the Galway Cross Country Series with Tribal Running Founder and Series Organiser Sean McDermott

March 04, 2024

In an interview with Tribal Running's Sean McDermott, the success of his Galway Cross Country Series was the topic of conversation as the series wrapped up for another year this past weekend. The series, designed to promote community engagement, athletic development, and a love for cross country running, has received overwhelming positive feedback from participants and supporters alike.

One of the most satisfying aspects for McDermott is the gratitude expressed by parents, who have been quick to thank him for putting on such a remarkable series. The sense of accomplishment is palpable when senior athletes share their sentiments about the series and the cherished community atmosphere it fostered. Such endorsements from both parents and senior athletes underline the series' impact on fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie.

Perhaps the most significant testament to the success of the series comes from parents and coaches reporting notable improvements in the performance of young athletes in other club competitions. These improvements were not just incidental but were among the primary goals of establishing the Galway Cross Country Series. McDermott emphasised that the positive feedback reaffirms their commitment to providing value for money, time, and performance enhancement.

The series faced its fair share of challenges, including wind, rain, frost, snow, and other adversities. McDermott, however, views these challenges as intrinsic to the character-building nature of cross country running. He believes that the unique difficulties presented by the series contribute to athletic development in ways that cannot be replicated elsewhere.

As McDermott reflects on the series, he notes an unprecedented influx of messages expressing thanks and regrets from those unable to attend more races. This surge in positive communication, he believes, sets the stage for a promising future for the series, showcasing its appeal to 'hardy operators' who relish a tough challenge, regardless of age.

A notable addition to the series was the Fun Country Race for younger kids aged 6 to 10, introduced mid-series. This initiative was a resounding success, making the Galway Cross Country Series an all-family event. Recognising the enthusiasm of younger kids eager to start their athletics careers, the inclusion of this race aligns with Tribal Running's commitment to fostering a love for running from a young age.

The series also ventured into two new venues this year, the Full Trail day in Merlin Woods and the all-Grass XC day at ATU Galway. Both venues were well-received, providing easily accessible locations for participants to showcase their cross country prowess.

Looking ahead, the Tribal Running team is already gearing up for the '24/25 series, anticipating continued growth and evolution of the event. In the immediate future, Mile races and a 5km race are planned for March, marking a shift to road races for the Tribal Crew. Additionally, in the Spring and Summer months, the Tribal Running Track Tour will make a return, promising exciting events at various venues nationwide.

The success of the Galway Cross Country Series is not just measured in the number of participants or races but in the positive impact it has had on the community, the athletes, and the sport itself. As Tribal Running looks towards the future, it does so with optimism, knowing that the series has laid a strong foundation for continued growth, development, and the promotion of a vibrant running culture.